With respect to all the Rutgers diehards and true historians who cling to fading memories of when college football was not big business and perfunctory proclamations about the birthplace of the sport, the reality is there ain't much to talk about pre-Schiano.

The fear was there might not be much to talk about post-Schiano, too.

Depending on your perspective or your preference for New Jersey, Greg Schiano either was the prodigal son who done good for his native state's university or he was a used-car salesman who parlayed a sweet gig into an even better one in the NFL this off-season.

Regardless, there is no denying that he put the Scarlet Knights on the map. Yeah, yeah, he came in with a lot of bluster, talking tough and predicting multiple national titles. The Garden State's rep as a fertile recruiting ground may have got the better of him there. His belief that he could mine tons of talent from South Florida thanks to having been defensive coordinator at the University of Miami probably prompted some pie-in-the-sky thoughts, too.

But he did make Rutgers relevant. Heck, he made Rutgers good.

His 2006 squad finished 11-2 and earned a No. 12 ranking in the national polls. It also provided the season's most memorable scene when the Knights knocked off third-ranked Louisville in a battle of Big East unbeatens, setting off a wild storm-the-field celebration captured - and thoroughly embraced - live by ESPN. Schiano was named national coach of the year then, and that team kickstarted a stretch of five straight bowl victories over the next six years for Rutgers.

Then he was gone - poof, him and his legacy just a specter along the banks of the Raritan River.

The Knights were left scrambling to find a replacement. For most, they "settled" in choosing assistant Kyle Flood.

All settlements should go so smoothly.

That collective "phew" emanating out of Piscataway and wafting up and down the turnpike? That's merely Rutgers fans breathing a sigh of relief that AD Tim Pernetti didn't make a massive mistake with his biggest decision since returning to his alma mater in 2009. Or, maybe that's Pernetti himself exhaling.

Whatever ...

With Thursday night's grind-it-out, 23-13 win at the University of South Florida - ironically enough, in the house the Bulls share with Schiano's new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - the Knights have served notice that, well, life does go on.

Now 3-0 overall, they sit atop the conference standings at 1-0 with Cincinnati and have that tough, determined look of a team prepared to remain there all season.

Junior running back Jawan Jamison could be the poster boy, going off what he did against USF. The Knights never deviated from their ground game, nor Jamison. Forty times they pounded away at the Bulls with the 5-foot-8, 200-pounder. No rush gained more than 9 yards as Jamison muscled his way to 110.

Then came carry No. 41 ... and the Bulls just had nothing left as Jamison darted 41 yards into the end zone to seal the victory.

Rutgers, very easily, could have abandoned that plan of attack since quarterback Gary Nova was having some success. He threw for one score and 277 yards.

But running the ball is really what Rutgers is all about. Schiano made it that way, first with Brian Leonard and then Ray Rice. Even with no-name backs, though, the Knights always kept "chopping" away under his reign, trying to get an opponent to physically succumb.

With Jamison now having three 100-yard efforts under his belt in 2012, it appears Flood isn't about to veer far from what made Rutgers successful the last half decade and change.

Considering he's been on staff since 2005, that makes sense. It also may give credence to just how much sense Pernetti showed with his choice once Schiano left.


With Arkansas getting drop-kicked out of the Top 25 with its overtime loss to Lousiana-Monroe, Week 3's expected signature game pitting the Razorbacks against visiting No. 1 Alabama has lost quite a bit of luster.

Really, the entire slate is a little lacking for what you'd normally expect.

No. 2 Southern Cal takes on No. 21 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., No. 18 Florida faces No. 23 Tennessee in Knoxville, and that's pretty much it ... unless you're inclined to follow No. 20 Notre Dame's visit to No. 10 Michigan State.

An Irish win would be the biggest since Brian Kelly took over as coach in South Bend in 2010. It's not exactly out of the question, either, despite the Spartans' highly touted defense. Notre Dame prevailed 31-13 in this matchup at home last season.

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